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Boston schools focus on safety, more buses with new year approaching

Safety, bussing the focus of Boston's preparations for new school year
Safety, bussing the focus of Boston's preparations for new school year 02:13

BOSTON - A top priority for the mayor and Boston Public School officials is making sure students get to and from school safely.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and Superintendent Mary Skipper helped put the finishing touches on a freshly painted crosswalk in front of Trotter School in Roxbury on Wednesday morning. The repainted crosswalks will help students walking and biking get to school safely.

"We're in the process of restriping all the crosswalks near BPS schools and making sure all pavement markings and safety signage is in place, in good condition and clearly visible," said Wu.

For students taking the bus, officials are optimistic about them being on time. For the first time since before the pandemic, BPS has a fully staffed team of more than 700 bus drivers with 35 more currently in training.

"We're very excited to be fully staffed on the bus driver side and to have additional bus drivers in training. That helps to ensure that every bus we have gets out onto the road, and that ensures that there's better on-time performance," said Skipper.

Twenty school buses are electric. The district has placed an order to double that amount and is working to expand the fleet even more.

"We're applying for an EPA grant to purchase another 50 to continue to reduce pollution in our neighborhoods and protect our students and drivers from the harmful pollution that comes from diesel buses," said Wu.

Inside the schools, teachers and staff will be focused on getting students caught up from learning disruptions during the pandemic.

"You can't really intervene your way out of what happened with the pandemic. You have to ensure that in every classroom, in every school, every day students are getting that high quality access to instruction," said "We've hired additional reading coaches. In our English Language Learner piece, we're hiring far more ESL teachers this year," Skipper said.

BPS has 100 more bus monitors this year compared to the start of the last school year, but the district is still looking to hire more.

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